What do you get when you place nuts and bolts on the keys of an organ (apart from a smack on the wrist from the organist)?

If you wander into Hobart’s grandiose Town Hall this January you may well find me, red-eyed and dazed, at the pipe organ. By then I will have been playing since the previous midnight and will likely have hours still to go. I’ll be attempting one of the longest single performances in classical music – a 24-hour composition on pipe organ for MONA FOMA.

Composer Julian Day, photo © Yvonna Chakra

Classical works have grown longer in recent decades and, naturally, the trend was kick-started by the minimalists. La Monte Young’s five-hour solo The Well-Tuned Pianofrom 1964 was inspired by his classmate Dennis Johnson’s similarly proportioned piano epic Novemberof five years earlier. Morton Feldman added his six-hour String Quartet No 2 in 1984 – you may have heard it recently at the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music. Feldman’s mate John Cage took up the challenge a few years later with Organ²/ASLSP(As SLow aS Possible) which, like my piece, is for...